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Internationally Educated Applicants

Video: Process for Internationally Educated Professionals

This video provides step-by-step registration information for internationally educated professionals. Watch to learn more about the College registration process and the requirements necessary to work in Ontario.

If you have any questions please contact our Registration team at [email protected] or call us at 1.800.890.6570.

Substantial Equivalency Assessment System

If you are:

  • applying for general or provisional registration, and
  • you have graduated from an occupational therapy program outside of Canada

You are required to complete the Substantial Equivalency Assessment System (SEAS) process as the first step for registration in Ontario.

Please note: applicants who are currently registered in Canada and applying through the labour mobility provisions do not complete SEAS and should review Applicants Registered in Another Province.

SEAS will determine whether your educational qualifications and competencies are substantially equivalent to an Ontario-educated occupational therapist.

The Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) administers SEAS as a service provider to the College. To learn more, visit the ACOTRO website.

SEAS is the first step in the registration process for internationally educated applicants.

Once you receive a disposition report from ACOTRO you must:

  1. complete the online application,
  2. pay the application fee,
  3. submit all required documentation to the College,
  4. pass the exam, and,
  5. pay the annual registration fee. 


You may not begin working* as an occupational therapist until you are registered with the College and have received written confirmation and a registration number.

*Working as an occupational therapist includes participating in orientation or training at the workplace.

How do I meet the requirements?

Education & Clinical Practicum

You will meet the education and clinical practicum requirement by completing the Substantial Equivalency Assessment System (SEAS) and receiving a disposition report that indicates your education and competencies are substantially equivalent to a Canadian-educated occupational therapist.

If your disposition report indicates that your education and competencies are not substantial equivalent to a Canadian-educated OT, your application will be referred to the College Registration Committee.

The Substantial Equivalency Assessment System has five components:

  1. Academic Credential Assessment (ACA)
  2. Curriculum and Fieldwork Review
  3. SEAS Language Assessment
  4. Jurisprudence Knowledge Assessment Test (JKAT)
  5. Competency Assessment Interview

To apply to SEAS, please visit:

Currency - Evidence of Practice

Recent graduation or recent occupational therapy practice provides evidence that you are current in the knowledge, skills and judgement needed to provide safe, effective, and ethical care.

To meet the currency requirement, you must:

  • Have graduated within the past 18 months


  • Provide evidence of 600 hours of occupational therapy practice within the past three years

    For example: letter from employer or record of employment

If you do not meet either of these options, you must complete a College approved refresher program to meet the currency requirement.

Exception for Substantial Equivalency Assessment System (SEAS)

The SEAS process generally takes one year to complete. To accommodate for this, the College will calculate the “date of application” by subtracting up to 12 months (based on the length of time you spent in SEAS) from the date you submit your completed application and pay your application fee to the College.

Please review the policy Currency Requirement for Applicants for more information.  

Approved Refresher Program

To be eligible to participate in the refresher program you must:

  • Be an applicant of the College
  • Submit a completed Additional Currency Data Sheet to the College for review

The College will review your documentation and inform you of your refresher program requirements. 

Generally, the refresher program consists of:

  • Clinic Re-entry Placement between 150-600 hours
  • Completion of College learning modules 

If you have not practiced in the past 10 years, you will be required to pass the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination as part of your refresher program.

Please review the policy Currency Requirement for Applicants for more information.  

Additional Resources


The approved exam is the National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (NOTCE or ‘the exam’) which is administered by the Canadian Association of Occupation Therapists (CAOT). View our National Exam webpage for key information. Full details are on the CAOT’s NOTCE website at

You will not be able to write the exam until it is confirmed by the College that you meet the education requirement. After receiving your completed SEAS report and your application to our College, we can confirm your eligibility for the exam with CAOT.

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance with a sexual abuse therapy and counseling fund endorsement is mandatory for registration with the College. The requirements for professional liability insurance are set out in Part 19 of the College bylaws.

The College has confirmed that the insurance coverage offered (as of August 1, 2017) by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT) and Aon Healthcare Advantage meets the College requirements. You are required to send the College a copy of your insurance certificate that includes the policy number and expiry date.

The College does not endorse any insurance provider. It is the is the responsibility of each occupational therapist (OT) to determine which insurance provider and policy best meets their needs. The above noted insurance providers are third parties and not affiliated with the College. The College provides this information so OTs are aware of policies that the College has confirmed meet the requirements of the bylaws.

Insurance may be purchased elsewhere, however, evidence that it meets the College's requirements must be sent to the College for review prior to acceptance.

Suitability to Practise

The purpose of the suitability to practise requirement includes the protection of the public, the maintenance of high ethical standards, and the maintenance of public confidence in the profession.

You will be required to answer a series of questions on the application about your suitability to practise occupational therapy. The questions pertain to:

  • occupational therapy practice;
  • practice of other professions;
  • offences;
  • bail conditions or restrictions; and,
  • your ability to practise occupational therapy safely and ethically.

Every applicant must submit the results of a current Vulnerable Sector (VS) Check to the College as part of their application. If you do not register within six months of the date the results were issued by the police, you will be required to submit an updated VS Check. The College uses the results of the VS Check to verify information pertaining to offences; bail conditions or restrictions; and any other relevant conduct.

Please visit our VS Check webpage for full details. .

If you hold (or have held) a license or registration to practise occupational therapy outside of Ontario, and/or if you hold (or have held) a license or registration to practise in a profession other than occupational therapy in Ontario or elsewhere, you need to complete a Regulatory History Form. Please forward the form to the appropriate organization and have them complete it and return it directly to the College.

If the Registrar has concerns about your ability to practice occupational therapy safely and ethically, your application will be referred to the Registration Committee for a review. For more information on the review process please refer to the policy: Determining Suitability to Practise at Registration.

Language Fluency

You will meet that language fluency requirement if:

  • your first language is English or French; or
  • the language of your occupational therapy program instruction is English or French; or
  • you have achieved an acceptable score on a College accepted test, please refer to our Language Fluency Requirement Policy for approved tests and accepted scores.

Accepted Tests

Work Eligibility

If you are a Canadian citizen a copy of your birth certificate, current passport, or Canadian Citizenship Card is required.

If you are not a Canadian citizen, evidence of landed immigrant status, permanent residency, or employment authorization under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2001 is required. Forwarding a photocopy of the document is sufficient. If you do not currently meet this requirement, you may still begin the application process.